You are on page 1of 89

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Electronics ReviewsElectronic ProjectsElectric R/C AirplanesGeneral AviationBuilding a VolksplaneHammond OrgansVintage CalculatorsVintage Slide RulesFountain PensOther Articles

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

Im always complaining about all the chargers and wall warts I need to carry with me when going on a trip. This project, which can charge a pair of AA Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) or Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) cells using a laptops USB port for power, arose to address part of that problem. (By the way, if you want to lighten your laptop load, take a look at the MoGo Mouse.) Any USB port can supply 5V at up to 500mA. The USB standard specifies that a device may not use more than 100mA until it has negotiated the right to use 500mA, but apparently no USB ports enforce that requirement. This makes the USB port a convenient source of power for devices such as this charger.

1 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

There are commercially available USB AA charging solutions available, but they each have some drawbacks: The USBCell is a 1300mAh AA NiMH cell with a removable top that allows it to be plugged directly into a USB port. No separate charger is needed. Unfortunately, the cell capacity is very low (most NiMH AA cells are 2500mAh these days), and each cell requires its own port. There is a two cell USB powered AA charger available, sold under a variety of names, but it charges at a very low 100mA rate. The distributor calls it an overnight charger, but at 100mA, a 2500mA cell would take about 40 hours to charge (40 instead of 25 due to the inefficiencies of charging at low currents). I found a 2/4 cell charger that can be powered by a USB port, auto adapter, or wall wart, but it is as large as the wall charger Im trying to replace. Different ones can be found here and here, but these take 10 to 12 hours to charge 2500mAh cells. [December 2007 Update: Sanyo has introduced a USB powered charger for their Eneloop batteries. This charger has none of the drawbacks listed above, and will charge a pair of 2000mAh cells in about 5 hours, or a single cell in half that time. Although designed for Eneloops (see my review), it will work with regular NiMH cells as well. Watch for a review on this site soon.] The charger in this project is designed to charge two AA NiMH or NiCd cells of any capacity (as long as they are the same) at about 470mA. It will charge 700mAh NiCds in about 1.5 hours, 1500mAh NiMHs in about 3.5 hours, and 2500mAh NiMHs in about 5.5 hours. The charger incorporates an automatic charge cut-off circuit based on cell temperature, and the cells can be left in the charger indefinitely after cut-off.

Specifications
This charger has the following specifications: Size: 3.8L x 1.2W x 0.7H (9.7cm x 3.0cm x 1.5cm). Cells: Two AA, NiMH or NiCd Charging Current: 470mA Charge Termination Method: Battery Temperature (33C) Trickle Current: 10mA Power Source: Desktop, Laptop, or Hub USB port Operating Conditions: 15C to 25C (59F to 77F)

The Circuit
The heart of this charger is Z1a, one half of an LM393 dual voltage comparator. The output (pin 1) can be in one of two states, floating or low. While charging,

2 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

the output is pulled low by an internal transistor, drawing about 5.2mA of current through Q1 and R5. Q1 has a beta of about 90, so about 470mA will flow through into the two AA cells being charged. This will fully charge a pair of 2500mAh cells in just over 5 hours.

USB powered AA charger schematic. During charging, R1, R2, and R4 form a three-way voltage divider which yields about 1.26V at the non-inverting input of Z1a (pin 3, Vref). TR1 is a thermistor that is in direct contact with the cells being charged. It has a resistance of 10k at 25C (77F), which varies inversely with temperature by about 3.7% for every 1C (1.8F). R3 and TR1 form a voltage divider whose value is applied to the inverting input (pin 2, Vtmp). At a temperature of 20C (68F), TR1 is about 12k, which makes Vtmp about 1.76V. Once the cells are fully charged, the charge current will literally go to waste, in the form of heat. As the cell temperature rises, TR1s resistance drops. At 33C (91F), the resistance will be about 7.4k, which makes Vtmp about 1.26V, which equals the Vref voltage.

3 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Battery voltage versus time. The cells are full when the voltage peaks, and the charger shuts off shortly thereafter. As the temperature rises above 33C, Vtmp will become less than Vref, and the open-collector output of Z1a will float high. Therefore, the current flowing through R5 is greatly reduced, as it is now limited by R1, R2, and R4. As a result, the current flowing through Q1 and the cells is reduced to a 10mA trickle charge rate. Also, because R4 is now connected to +5V through R5 and Q1 instead of being held at 0.26V by Z1a, the Vref voltage changes to about 2.37V. This guarantees that as the cell temperature drops, the charger wont turn back on. In order for Vtmp to reach 2.37V, TR1 would have to reach about 20k, corresponding to a temperature of about 6C (43F), which should never happen in a room temperature environment. Z1b is the other comparator on the LM393 chip, and a close look at the schematic reveals that its performing the same comparison as Z1a. Instead of driving the charging transistor however, it drives an LED that indicates that charging is in progress. R6 limits current to the LED to about 10mA. By running the LED from its own comparator (which is on the chip whether we use it or not), the LED current has no effect on Vref. Finally, C1 is there to ensure that charging starts when a pair of cells is inserted. With no cells in place and the charger off, C1 has about 1.9V across it (5V 0.7V Vref). As soon as the second of two cells is inserted, the positive side of C1 is suddenly forced down to the battery voltage (about 2.4V). This immediately forces the negative side 1.9V lower than this, to about 0.5V. Since this is connected to Vref, Z1as output goes low, causing charging to start. After a few milliseconds, C1 adjusts to the new voltage difference imposed by R1, R2, and R4 on one side and the cells on the other, and no longer affects the circuit.

Construction
The circuit is best built on a printed circuit board. Refer to my article on the subject, Making Excellent Printed Circuit Boards. Here is the printed circuit layout:

4 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Copper side. Actual size is 3.8" x 1.2" (9.7cm x 3.0cm). Click to enlarge. Begin by installing all the resistors and the capacitor. The resistors should be installed lying flat. Install LED1, being sure to orient it so that the negative terminal is the one connected to pin 7 of Z1b.

Component placement diagram. Click to enlarge. Install Z1 next, ensuring that pin 1 (indicated by a small dot or identation on one corner of the IC) is oriented as shown in the placement diagram. If you wish, use a socket for Z1. Transistor Q1 is mounted on a small heatsink. First bend the leads back 90 just where they start to narrow. Dont bend them too sharply or they might break. Insert Q1 into its lead holes, and slide the heatsink underneath. Hold everything in place with a clamp while soldering the leads. With the clamp still in place, drill the hole for the heatsink bolt.

5 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Charger with all electronic components installed. Note that there is space under Q1 for the heatsink. The board area where the battery holder will go has been scuffed up to aid adhesion. Installing the battery holder is the next step. I used a 2-cell holder made by cutting the two outer cell positions off of a side-by-side 4-cell holder. You can of course just buy a 2-cell holder, but none was available when I went to the parts store. My approach has the additional advantage that the cells are easier to insert and remove, because the sides of the holder dont curve inwards over the cells. Before installing the holder, remove a long section of the centre divider to make room for the thermistor. Also solder some leads to the cell holder terminals. Glue the holder in place on the circuit board, flush with the sides and ends of the board. When the glue has dried, drill through the TR1 holes in the board to make matching holes in the battery holder. If you did everything carefully, these two holes should be right on the centre line, where you removed the section of divider. Insert the thermistor through the holes, and then put a pair of AA cells in the holder. From the copper side, push up on the thermistor so it is in firm contact with the cells, and then solder it in place. Then remove the cells, and connect the battery holder leads to the holes marked B+ and B- on the placement diagram.

6 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

The completed charger with one cell in place. The 2-cell holder was made by cutting the outer positions off of a 4-cell holder. Notice how the thermistor is installed so as to make physical contact with the cells being charged. A small heatsink keeps Q1 cool. The last step is to connect a USB power cable. Either buy a cable, or cut one off of a discarded USB device such as a broken mouse. Cut the cable to the desired length, and strip about 1 of the outer covering off the end. Roll back the shielding, and find the +5V and GND wires. These will generally be red and black respectively. Strip and tin the ends of them, and solder them to the USB+5V and USBGND terminals of the charger.

Testing
Before connecting the charger to a power source, inspect your work carefully. Be sure all the components are oriented correctly (specifically Q1, LED1, Z1, and the battery holder).

For initial tests, I used a USB hub for power. A pair of #11 hobby knife blades between the cells and the contacts let me hook up a voltage monitor. For initial tests, I suggest you use a powered USB hub. By using a hub, you ensure that the charger is not drawing power from your computer, since a defect in the charger could damage the power source. Note however that most powered hubs wont output any power unless the hub is connected to a computer. Alternatively, you could use a regulated 5V power supply, temporarily connected to the +5V and GND traces on the circuit board. With power applied, check that the LED is off. If it is on, use a 330 resistor to short out TR1 for an instant (this makes the circuit think the cells have gotten extremely hot). If the LED doesnt extinguish, theres something wrong.
7 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

With the LED off, measure the voltage between GND and Vref (pin 3 of Z1). This should be approximately 2.37V. It can be a bit more or less depending on the exact supply voltage and the variation in resistor values. Also check the voltage at Vtmp (pin 2). At room temperature, this should be in the range of 1.60V to 1.85V, depending on the temperature. Now insert a pair of matching AA NiMH cells, preferrably ones that are partially or fully discharged. As soon as you insert the second cell, the LED should light up. Measure the Vref voltage again; it should now be about 1.26V. Vtmp may also have changed a little bit, due to the supply voltage drop caused by the load placed on the power supply. The charger is now charging and the voltage at the battery terminals should be increasing. After a while, the rate of increase should slow down. As the cells reach about 75% charge, the rate of increase will speed up again. Finally, when the cells reach 100% charge, the voltage will start decreasing, and the cells will start to get warm. 15 to 20 minutes later, the charger should turn off. If the cells get uncomfortably warm and the charger has not shut off, theres something wrong. Its also worth measuring the charge current. The easiest way to do this is to insert two thin conductive strips, such as brass shim, separated by an insulator, between one cell and a battery holder contact. Then connect an ammeter to the two strips, so that the charging current flows through the meter. The meter should read somewhere between 450 and 490mA. If its any higher, you will be exceeding the USB current supply specification, since the charger itself uses an additional 10mA (primarily for the LED). If the measured current, I, is too high or too low, replace R5 with a different value resistor according to the following formula: R5 = 1.6 x I Use the nearest standard value. For example, if you measure a current of 510mA, replace R5 with an 820 resistor. If the measured current was 420mA, use a 680 resistor.

Enclosure
At the time I wrote this, I had not yet constructed an enclosure for this circuit, but plan to do so in the near future, since the bare board is not robust enough to throw into the laptop bag when going on a trip. The enclosure will be made from 1/16 plastic or aircraft plywood for the sides and bottom, with a translucent plastic panel over the circuitry. The battery compartment will be left open. A strain relief will prevent the USB leads from breaking off where they attach to the board. For cooling, I plan to drill holes in the sides and top in the heatsink area.

Using the Charger


Using the charger is easy. Just plug it into a USB port and insert the two cells you want to charge. When the LED extinguishes, charging is complete. Approximate charge times are as follows:

8 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Cell Type 700mAh NiCd 1100mAh NiCd 1600mAh NiMH 2000mAh NiMH 2500mAh NiMH

Charge Time 1.5h 2.5h 3.5h 4.5h 5.5h

It is important that the two cells being charged are of the same type and at the same level of discharge. If the cells are mismatched, one will become fully charged before the other. When it reaches 33C, the charger will shut off. If the second cell needs more than about 200mAh more than the first cell, it will not have reached a full charge.

This charger, with a suitable enclosure, is ideal for use on trips, using a laptop to power the charger. The laptop should be plugged in to avoid running down its battery. In general, if two cells are used together in a single device (digital camera, GPS, etc.), then they will remain in sync, and can be charged together. When charging is completed, the charger will switch to a 10mA trickle charge. This is sufficient to overcome the cells natural self-discharge rate, but low enough that the cells can be left in the charger indefinitely. However, do not leave the cells in the charger unless the charger is plugged into a powered-up USB port. Otherwise, the cells will supply power to the circuit and be drained in the process.

9 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

When using this charger with any computer, make sure that the computer is not set to go into a power saving mode that turns off power to the USB ports. If this happens, charging will stop, and the cells being charged will discharge. When using a laptop as a power source, its best to plug in the laptops power supply, since the charger uses a significant amount of power, and will probably take longer to complete than the laptop battery will last. If powering this charger from a USB hub, be sure to use a powered hub. A non-powered hub will not be able to deliver enough current to the charger, since it must share the 500mA coming from the computer with the ports in the hub (typically four). The extra cable length also tends to reduce the voltage reaching the charger.

Charging AAA Cells


If the springs in the battery holder are long enough, the charger can also be used to charge a pair of AAA cells. However, it is then necessary to insert shims between the cells and the sides of the battery holder to ensure that the cells remain in contact with the thermistor. Only charge modern AAA cells, having a capacity of 700mAh or more.

Parts List
Some parts can be obtained at Radio Shack, but larger electronic supply houses like Digi-Key are more likely to stock all the parts needed. Part R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 TR1 C1 Q1 Description 56k W, 5% resistor 27k W, 5% resistor 22k W, 5% resistor 47k W, 5% resistor 750 W, 5% resistor 220 W, resistor 10k @ 25C thermistor, approx. 3.7%/C NTC Radio Shack #271-110 (discontinued) 0.1F 10V capacitor TIP32C PNP transistor, TO-220 case

10 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Z1

LM393 dual voltage comparator IC, DIP

LED1 Red, green, or yellow LED, 10mA 2-cell AA battery holder Other USB cable Small heatsink Note that the Radio Shack thermistor has been discontinued. Although I have not tried any of them, there are other similar thermistors available, such as the Vishay #2381 640 54103 (Digi-Key #BC2298-ND). The temperature coefficient is slightly different (about 4.6%/C), but over the range were interested in, is close enough. Using this thermistor, the cut-off and turn-on temperatures would be about 32C (89F) and 10C (50F) respectively. Alternatively, you can use the resistor values below with the Vishay thermistor to raise the cut-off temperature back to 33C, while lowering the turn-on temperature to 3C (37F). Part R1 R2 R3 R4 Alternative Resistor Values to use with Vishay #2381 640 54103 Thermistor 82k W, 5% resistor 33k W, 5% resistor 27k W, 5% resistor 39k W, 5% resistor

I have not tested this combination, but the values were computed using the same program that I used to compute the values that were used with the Radio Shack thermistor. Do not mix and match values from this table with those listed above. If you change any of the values to those in this table, change all of them. If anyone finds an alternate source for the Radio Shack thermistor, please let me know.
Like 133 people like this.

Related Articles
11 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

If you've found this article useful, you may also be interested in: BattMan II: Computer Controlled Battery Manager High Speed NiCd Charger for Electric R/C Low Cost Thermal Peak Detection NiCd Charger Leave a Comment

194 Comments
1.

Amy Donovan December 04, 2007 Please include a sentence or two about the need to recycle rechargeable batteries. These types of batteries contain heavy metals and should never be thrown away; they should always be recycled. We need to get the word out to the public! See http://www.rbrc.org/call2recycle/. Amy Donovan, Program Director Franklin County Solid Waste Management District Greenfield, MA http://www.franklincountywastedistrict.org 2.

Anonymous December 09, 2007 NiMH batteries should be recycled to reduce waste but they do not contain heavy metals.

12 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Lead acid and NiCd are the rechargeable battery chemistries that use heavy metals and must always be recycled properly. 3.

T.S. Libertan January 09, 2008 The use of C1 is quite clever. Didnt understand it at first, its role is quite subtle. Probably still dont understand it Using temperature to halt the charging seems quite dependent on a number of things e.g how well the thermister is thermally coupled to the cells. Also do cells only become hot when theyre nearly charged, or do they heat up significantly at any point in the charging process? I was thinking of a 4xAA charger using a 12v bicycle dynamo. I was just going to use a LM317 set to four times whatever the open voltage of a NiMH cell is (4 x 1.36v?). I thought that once charged the cells wouldnt draw any current. I think the dynamo is rated at ~500mA maximum, so maybe a token current-limiting resistor could be used, or not. Any thoughts? By some miracle I bought 25 6ft USB extension cables on ebay today for 2 dollars, and Ive always wanted an excuse to play with a thermistor. I think I might try your charger. Anyway, all I wanted to say really was congratulations a well explained circuit is a rare thing. 4.

Stefan Vorkoetter January 09, 2008 T.S., youre right about thermal coupling being important, which is why I stress in the instructions to install the thermistor to ensure it is in firm contact with the cells being charged. NiMH cells do warm up a bit during charging, but they start to heat up quickly once they are full. NiCds on the other hand cool during charging, and start
13 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

heating up when they are full. Charging NiMH or NiCds using a fixed voltage isnt a good idea. For one thing, almost no current will flow unless your fixed voltage is quite a bit more than the open circuit voltage, because the internal resistance of the cells will cause the terminal voltage to float up to your supply voltage. Also, if you ever get a shorted cell (quite common with NiCd, not unheard of with NiMH), your voltage will suddenly be far too high, and youll overcharge the cells. 5.

Anonymous April 04, 2008 I do not understand why the batteries are powering the circuit if USB power is off. Shouldnt the condensator and the transistor on the positive side prevent that? 6.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 04, 2008 I must admit that I do not know why current flows when the battery is installed and the USB power is off, but it does. The LED lights up when I do this. 7.

Clay April 17, 2008 Show us the enclosure! Im curious to see what it looks like.

14 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

8.

Ben May 16, 2008 Would I be able to use a slightly lower charge rate to allow the power from the usb port to drive the load as well? In other words, what is the lowest charge current that can be used within reason? 9.

Stefan Vorkoetter May 16, 2008 Ben, by "load", I assume you mean "the load connected to the battery"? If so, you dont need to modify the circuit to do this. The load will just take as much of the current as it needs, and the rest will charge the batteries. However, this may not be the circuit you want, since it will charge the batteries until they are full, and then stop. It will not restart until the batteries are removed and reinserted. You probably want a much simpler circuit that simply continuously charges the batteries at a very low current (just a bit more than is used by the load). Stefan 10.

Chris May 29, 2008

15 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

How are you calculating 1.26V at the non-inverting input of Z1a (pin 3, Vref) with R1, R2 and R4? Where is 2.37V coming from when you have no battery installed? My Pspice model shows 1.26V As you can see, Im having a little trouble in figuring out your calculations. Please explain in much detail as I love the idea that you have here and looking to understand and make it work. 11.

Stefan Vorkoetter May 30, 2008 Chris, first there are some points to keep in mind: 1) The circuit basically has two states, charging or not charging. 2) The battery can affect the circuit in only two ways: 2a) The batterys temperature affects the resistance of TR1, and thus Vtmp. 2b) When the battery is first installed, it briefly affects Vref through C1. Once the voltage across C1 stabilizes, the battery no longer affects Vref. Now to your actual questions: During charging, Z1a pin 1 is at about 0.3V. Using Kirchoffs current law, we get the equation: (0.3-Vref)/R4+(5.0-Vref)/R1+(0.0-Vref)/R2 = 0.0 Solving that for Vref gives 1.26V. When charging is complete, Z1a pin 1 is pulled high through R5 and Q1. The base of Q1 will be at about 4.3V. So now the equation becomes: (4.3-Vref)/(R4+R5)+(5.0-Vref)/R1+(0.0-Vref)/R2 = 0.0

16 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Solving that for Vref gives 2.36V (when I did the original calculations, I rounded off as I went, and thus arrived at 2.37V). 12.

Vicente Fittipaldi June 05, 2008 Congratulations, Stefan. This circuit was the best that I found in the Internet. Simple, efficient and economic to mount. 13.

Rick Scott June 13, 2008 Hi Stefan, The reason the circuit draws curent when not powered by the USB port comes from diodes junctions in the circuit you have not considered in your analysis. The first diode is the collector-base junction of Q1 which will be forward biased because the battery voltage is higher than the base. This allows the batteries to apply power to the circuit through R5. The next part of this problem is not visible in your schematic and is something most people arent aware of. Virtually all microcircuits except for some RF devices have ESD protection diodes/circuits between each interface pin and the power and ground pins of the device. For analysis purposes, they look like reversed biased diodes when the device is used within its normal operating conditions. With no power supplied the power pin of Z1 (pin 8), the voltage applied to the output pin (pin 1 in your circuit) through R5 will forward bias the ESD diode between pin 1 and the internal voltage bus connected directly to pin 8. This will then provide enough power to make the comparators operate which draws current and also turns on the LED. All of the circuits are now being powered by the batteries, but the voltages are much different than the normal operating condition. The internal ESD protection diodes need to be considered for any circuit that can have a voltage applied to its input/output pins when its not powered by

17 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

its power supply. This problem is very common in interface circuits between different "boxes". Rick 14.

Stefan Vorkoetter June 13, 2008 Rick, thanks very much for your detailed analysis and explanation. The behaviour Ive observed makes perfect sense now. I guess the simplest way to prevent all this would be to put a diode into the circuit between the collector of Q1 and the positive battery terminal. Theres enough of a voltage difference even at full charge to allow for another 0.7V drop. 15.

Rick Scott June 15, 2008 Hi Stefan, Youre welcome. Have you considered using a schottky power diode like the 1N5806. With a diode like this, the forward voltage drop is only around 0.4V, which would provide more overhead if the USB power supply voltage is low. Rick 16.

18 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Ovidiu July 05, 2008 Hello Mr. Stefan! I was surfing the internet for a project for mu electric circuits class and I found yours to be the most interesting and I have started doing it for my final examination for this class. I have a little problem! I use de Orcad pspice schematics and there I have to put a equivalent circuit for the bateries and the thermistor and I am in reall problem could you lend me a hand? I have to draw that battery voltage versus time and i dont know how Please help 17.

serkan July 11, 2008 I try to simulate it with Multisim workbench. I need to know that what can i use instead of rechargeable batteries in simulation? 18.

Ashwin August 11, 2008 That is a wonderful design. I simulated it on Multisim and it is superb. Just started work on the PCB 19.

Gigi September 27, 2008

19 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Hello Mr. Stefan May I suggest you to use a second thermistor (or a combination resistor+thermistor) for R3 ? In this case the circuit will sense the difference between ambient temperature and cells temperature, allowing it to operate at ambient temperatures over 33 degrees C and also ensuring a faster charging termination (after the cells are charged) when ambient temperature is lower. The second thermistor should be placed away from heat sink and cells, outside of an enclosure. Gigi 20.

stuntmaster October 14, 2008 hi Mr stefan i have question should I always charge 2 cells at the same time or could i charge only just one cell at time? 21.

Argen October 26, 2008 Hi!! I was wondering, here I cant fin thermistors of 10K. The Only thing I can find in my country are thermistors of 5ohms, any ideas about it?? Can I replace it in any other way? 22.

20 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

jasper November 15, 2008 is it ok that i will charge 2AA cells in a parallel connection having the same terminals when charging?in your design,youve made to charge 2AA cells in series. Will my modification will work,Mr. Stefan? will the components change according to my design base on your circuit made on this web? please help me sir!,thanks! 23.

Stefan Vorkoetter November 21, 2008 Jasper, I dont know the nature of your modification, but its not a wise idea to charge two cells in parallel. The internal resistance of the two cells can differ, which means one will receive more charge than the other. Also, charging them in parallel will take twice as long, so Im not sure why you want to do this. 24.

Haley November 25, 2008 The USB specification stated that upon plug in of a USB device without enumeration, the USB host will allow only 100mA of current for the device. Your circuit detail showed to be able to output 470mA of charging current. How is that possible as 500mA can be obtained from the USB host only after proper enumeration? 25.

21 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Stefan Vorkoetter November 25, 2008 Haley, what the USB spec says and what is actually implemented are not the same thing. The spec allows a USB port to restrict current to 100mA to non-enumerated devices. However, no one actually puts in the circuitry to enforce this limitation. Most computers and USB hubs just supply 5V to all the ports, with little or no current limitation. 26.

Andras January 14, 2009 I fully understand your point in using the USB as the power source. However, if I want to use something else as a power source, I can use anything generating 5V and at least 500mA, right? 27.

Stefan Vorkoetter January 14, 2009 Yes, you can use any power source that provides a reasonably regulated 5V at 500mA or more. 28.

honda4life January 28, 2009

22 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Wonderful, Im going to build it. Isnt it possible to charge only one cell if you replace one battery with 2 diodes forwarded? 29.

Antonio February 07, 2009 Hi Stefan! Great work! I wonder if I can replace the USB port with a spare power supply of 5V and 350mA. I know the charge will slow down but that is not a issue. Is it possible to keep the circuit unchanged? 30.

Stefan Vorkoetter February 07, 2009 Antonio, the circuit will work with a 5V power supply, but the supply either has to be able to provide the 500mA needed, or you have to change the 750 current control resistor to lower the charging current. About 1.1k will give you around 320mA. 31.

irwan February 08, 2009 Hi stefan I have a power supply and the output of my power supply is 5v, 200~300 mA. If I want to charge my 1000mAH nicd battery in 1 hour what part should I change?

23 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

thx 32.

Stefan Vorkoetter February 09, 2009 Irwan, if you want to charge a 1000mAh NiCd in one hour you need to change two parts: Your power supply, and the 750 resistor. Your power supply will need to be able to supply at least 1200mA. The resistor should be changed to about 300. Youll also need a bigger heatsink on the transistor. 33.

Ersin Ayra March 13, 2009 Hi Stefan, I built the circuit, its really fantastic. Cheap, reliable and performs very well. The only question is how to protect it against damages and short circuit (casing). I didnt want it to put it in a box, because its now very small and smart, I didnt want to enlarge it with a box. Maybe with silicon or protolin you can make a self-box Did you have an idea or a solution for it? Again congratulations for the circuit and thanks for sharing it with us. 34.

Stefan Vorkoetter March 13, 2009 Ersin, I still havent made a box for mine either, primarily because Ive only used it on my desk at home so far. However, one way to package it would be to

24 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

use translucent heat-shrinkable tubing of the appropriate size. Just slide the tubing over the circuit, shrink it with a heat gun, and then cut away the tubing where it covers the battery holder. This method is frequently used for electric model speed control circuits. 35.

Hasheem April 09, 2009 Stefan, ive constructed your circuit but there is a heat problem. When i bind the circuit to my computer, LM393 starts to heaten. The voltage i take from my usb port collapses to 2,5 volts when i bind it. can you please help me, what can be the problem? im waiting for your answer urgently, thank you. 36.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 10, 2009 Hasheem, without seeing the circuit, it is difficult to diagnose a problem like that, but the three most likely causes are: 1) youve inserted the IC backwards, 2) youve connected the USB power leads backwards, or 3) youve made an error making the PCB. 37.

Henrique April 11, 2009 Thanks Stefan! Your project are doing very sucecss here on Brazil.

25 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

38.

Rene' April 19, 2009 Hey Stefan., love your project, I have a few Questions, hope you can be of help, "While charging, the output is pulled low by an internal transistor, drawing about 5.2mA of current through Q1 and R5". ***** How do you know the current through R5 is 5.2mA, is it from a data sheet? ***** You using a heatsink for Q1 because it heats up, could you provide more information, tell me what equations you used to lead you to select the heatsink you using(such as junction case temperature etc), in a nutshell could you provide more heatsink design information in you project. ***** I know, im very inquisitive:) 39.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 19, 2009 Ren, the current through R5 is calculated using Ohms law: V=IR. In this case, there will be a 0.7V drop through Q1 (because there always is across the B-E junction of a transistor), and a 0.4V drop through the internal output transistor of the comparator. That leaves 3.9V across R5. For the heatsink, I used the TLAR (That Looks About Right) method. Worst case, the transistor is only dissipating about 1.5W, so it doesnt need much of a heatsink. 40.

Rene' April 23, 2009 Thank u very much for clarifying that, i undastand now, but i do poze more questions."As the cell temperature rises, TR1s resistance drops. At 33C, the

26 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

resistance will be about 7.4k, which makes Vtmp about 1.26V, which equals the Vref voltage." ***** @33C I do not understand how you got 7.4k I calculated TR1=12.96k,Do correct me if Im wrong. (33C -25C)=8C temperature rise Since TR1 varies inversely with temperature by 3.7% for every 1C=> 0.0378C temperature rise =0.296; 10k X 0.296=2.960k 10k+2.960k =12.96k TR1=12.96k ***** How does 7.4k make Vtmp 1.26V? ***** When the temperature is higher than 33C, Vtmp will become less than Vref, and the open-collector output of Z1a will float high. Therefore, the current flowing through R5 is greatly reduced, as it is now limited by R1, R2, and R4. ***** the open-collector output of Z1a will float high???how does this reduce the current? ***** I hope u can broaden my understanding of your wonderful design. Thanx 41.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 23, 2009 Ren, there are two things wrong with your calculation: 1) The resistance decreases with a temperature rise (i.e. it varies inversely with temperature). 2) The effect is cumulative, like compound interest. Given a temperature increase of 8C, an initial resistance of 10k, and a resistance reduction of 3.7% for each 1C increase in temperature, the calculation is:

10 (1 0.037)8
which gives 7.4k. Regarding your second question, when Z1a floats high, there is no longer any current flowing into it or out of it (thats what "float" means). It is as if pin 1 were no longer connected to the circuit. Thus, the current flowing through R5 is limited by R4. 42.

27 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Rene' April 26, 2009 Wow, thanks very much, u very helpful, that helps me undastand alot, yet again i come with questions "current flowing through Q1 and the cells is reduced to a 10mA trickle charge rate" Q1: How did you get 10mA? "Also, because R4 is now connected to +5V through R5 and Q1 instead of being held at 0.26V by Z1a" Q2: What does the 0.26V represent? "the positive side of C1 is suddenly forced down to the battery voltage (about 2.4V). This immediately forces the negative side 1.9V lower than this, to about 0.5V" Q3: How does this forcing down of the capacitor take place? is there a term or process that causes this? i would like to read up more on it. Q4: How do u know it will be forced down to 0.5V? "After a few milliseconds, C1 adjusts to the new voltage difference imposed by R1, R2, and R4" Q5: is this difference = the voltage division result of R1, R2, and R4? 43.

Rene' April 26, 2009 Wow, thanks very much, u very helpful, that helps me undastand alot, yet again i come with questions "current flowing through Q1 and the cells is reduced to a 10mA trickle charge rate" Q1: How did you get 10mA?

28 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

"Also, because R4 is now connected to +5V through R5 and Q1 instead of being held at 0.26V by Z1a" Q2: What does the 0.26V represent? "the positive side of C1 is suddenly forced down to the battery voltage (about 2.4V). This immediately forces the negative side 1.9V lower than this, to about 0.5V" Q3: How does this forcing down of the capacitor take place? is there a term or process that causes this? i would like to read up more on it. Q4: How do u know it will be forced down to 0.5V? "After a few milliseconds, C1 adjusts to the new voltage difference imposed by R1, R2, and R4" Q5: is this difference = the voltage division result of R1, R2, and R4? 44.

Rene' April 27, 2009 "With power applied, check that the LED is off" Q: Y must the led be off? does it indicate that charging process has not begun?Whats the purpose of the LED?? "voltage at battery terminals should be increasing. After a while, the rate of increase should slow down" Q: the battery voltage rate at terminals depend on temperature?? coz of the thermistor. So does the rate slow down because the batteries are warming up as it gets charged? temperature increaseresistance decrease-voltage decrease????V=IR "As the cells reach about 75% charge, the rate of increase will speed up again. Finally, when the cells reach 100% charge, the voltage will start decreasing, and the cells will start to get warm. 15 to 20 minutes later, the charger should turn off." Q: if the battery voltage rate depends on temperature why does it speed up when its 75% charged coz the batteries should be pretty warm at that stage and the charging process should be coming to an end?????temperature increaseresistance decrease-voltage decrease????V=IR 45.

29 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Stefan Vorkoetter April 27, 2009 More answers for Ren (however, I suggest you get yourself a good book on basic electronics and try to figure some of these out for yourself; this is not a complicated circuit): A1: Use Kirchoffs law to calculate the current through R5 when Z1a is floating, and multiply the result by the beta of Q1. A2: The low-level output voltage of Z1a with a 5.2mA input current (see the datasheet). A3: The process is called "connection". When two points in a circuit are connected, they have to be at the same voltage. A4: 2.4V 1.9V = 0.5V. A5: Yes. 46.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 27, 2009 Final answers for Ren: Answer to first question: The purpose of the LED is described in the article. Answer to second question: The voltage at the battery is increasing because the battery is being charged. The thermistor doesnt control the voltage, only whether or not the battery is being charged. Answer to third question: See answer to second question. The battery voltage increases more rapidly as it gets to about 75% charge because that is what NiMH (and NiCd) batteries do when you charge them at a constant current.

30 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

47.

Rolando May 26, 2009 This circuit can recharge two AA batteries in serial? 48.

PL June 29, 2009 hi Stefan, built your circuit and its working! however, could ask for some help regarding the circuit. can i have a brief explaination of the whole circuit? what each components do and all ? Because i need to understand it before i can explain it as well. it would be great if you would be able to provide me the information. cheers! rgs, PL 49.

Stefan Vorkoetter June 29, 2009 PL, if you read the article, youll notice that its all explained in great detail in the section entitled The Circuit.

31 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

50.

PL July 03, 2009 hi stefan, thanks for that. ive read through already. however i still have some questions to ask from you. ive merge a control circuit with a proximity sensor to the battery charging circuit. and ive change the r5 value to 680ohm as i doesnt want the current to be so high. the current measured now is about 430-440ma. the output is to usb. however, the led keep flickering when i connect it to the computer. so i tried to parallel another usb cable to it. the led light seems stablised by a little. but after awhile, it keep on flickering again. i dont know why. need some help and advice from you again! thank you. 51.

Bizonics Lszl July 05, 2009 Hi Stefan! I have made the NiMH charger but I use a 6V/800mA power supply instead of a laptop. The charger works but I have a problem with it. The charger switches off in a very short time. Because of it I installed a 5kohm trimmer potentiometer which is connected in series with thermistor. In this way I can control the switching off. and I replaced 750 ohm R5 resistance by 2.2kohm trimmer potentiometer Do you think it is a good solution? Is there another method to solv this problem that it can work in the original way? Where in which points can I measure the Vref and Vtmp voltage? Thank you for helping me. Bye: Bizolac 52.

32 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Richard Sweetapple July 07, 2009 Hi Stefan,Hello from Queensland Australia. Thank you for sharing this project with us. In this part of the world our ambient temperatures vary from 0 to 38 degrees Celcius. To overcome the narrow temperature range of the circuit my thoughts are to replace R3 (22k) with another TR1 and a 20k trimpot in series. This should allow me to recharge the batteries when the ambient temperature is above 33 degrees and also terminate the charge earlier when the ambient temperature is very low. Another modification I have made is the addition of a urethane foam cover over the batteries to get a quicker switching response. 53.

nurul July 13, 2009 hello.thanks for sharing. actually ive try to simulate it by using proteus. but error occur because of the lm393.ive check the connection and im afraid there is no wrong.can u suggest any other component that i can replace? 54.

nurul July 24, 2009 help me please stefan.ive construct the circuit on project board. the current flows to charge the battery is too small, about 10mA.where should i troubleshoot? 55.

33 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

baba September 18, 2009 Come on .man!How stupid it is!I even cannot charge it continuously. I have to wait the thermistor to cool down before I charge anther two batteries. 56.

Stefan Vorkoetter September 18, 2009 Baba, maybe you should try building it before making misinformed comments. The thermistor cools down in a matter of seconds, probably faster than you can change the batteries. 57.

PV September 21, 2009 Hi Stefan, I need to charge one Ni-MH battery. Which element must change? 58.

Yuber

34 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

October 13, 2009 Ive built the circuit and it works perfectly with 2AA NiCd/NiMh Batteries; I set it up to charge at 1Amp changing R5 for one of 330Ohms aprox. Im using a wall adapter 5VDC 2Amp I have a trouble. I need to charge 3AA NiCd/NiMh bateries in serie, instead of 2AA. When I put the 3AA in serie, the charge current drops from 1A to 200mA. What do you think its happening?? Thanks for your answer 59.

Stefan Vorkoetter October 13, 2009 Yuber, 5V is not enough to charge 3 AA batteries in series at high currents. At 1A, a single AA NiMH battery will reach about 1.6V, so 3 will be 4.8V. There is a minimum of 0.7V lost in the transistor, so with 5V, youll only have 4.3V available. The simple solution is to use a 6V power supply instead of a 5V one. 60.

Stuart Halliday October 17, 2009 Most USB 2 Ports do now need to be negotiated today so no way will I be able to get more than 100mA out of a single port. More so when USB 3 comes out with its slightly larger current later this year. 61.

35 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Stefan Vorkoetter October 17, 2009 Stuart, I have yet to encounter a USB port that wont deliver 500mA even without negotiation. All my machines have USB 2 ports, and they have all been able to operate this charger. There are also commercial USB-powered chargers (such as Sanyos Eneloop charger) that also do not negotiate for current, and they work fine. The thing is that to actually limit the current and only allow the higher current once it has been negotiated requires more circuitry in the USB port, which most manufacturers will leave out in order to save costs. 62.

Marcos October 28, 2009 Hi Stefan, i only found thermistor of 1K and 20, i will have problem if i use them? 63.

Luke December 10, 2009 Hi Stefan, hello from Poland. Thanks for your project, it is great and easy to make. However, I have a question. Is it possible to use TIP42 instead of TIP32? I did everything with accordance to this article, connections between elements on PCB are good, elements are also OK, but my charger doesnt work. Admittedly, I use power supply instead of USB, but it is able to supply 1000mA so its enough. I think, that the problem is in TIP42 which I used instead of TIP32. What do you think about it? Is the transistor a problem or maybe something else? Thank you in advance for your answer.

36 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

64.

Kyriakos December 19, 2009 Luke, as far as I can recall, TIP42 is used to handle negative voltage. TIP34 and TIP36 will work fine if you use a power supply. 65.

tiroching December 30, 2009 can i know how the resistor r5 effect the circuit for ur example when input is 470mA, so resistor r5 R5 = 1.6 x I = 750ohm but i try using 400ohm y i cant see got any different ,,, the current input to battery still the same 470mA and can u tell me what circuit simulator software u r using . because i using multisim software cant find out the transistor tip32c and the ic LM393 66.

Stefan Vorkoetter December 30, 2009

37 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Tiroching, R5s value is computed based on the available voltage (5V), desired output current, beta of the transistor (about 90) and the voltage drop through it (0.7V) and the output transistor of the op-amp (0.4V). The formula is: R5 = (5 0.7 0.4) * 90 / OutputCurrent For an output current of 0.47A, R5 works out to 747 Ohms. If you replace R5 with 400 Ohms, you should get an output current of about 0.88A. In practice you probably wont, because the USB output voltage will drop with that much load. 67.

Marloe Uy February 05, 2010 Hello Stefan, Im planning to make your charger. However, i want to charge 5 AA battery. Can you help me on what should i change on the circuit? 68.

Stefan Vorkoetter February 05, 2010 This charger cant charge more than two at at time, because there isnt enough voltage available from a USB port. 69.

Marloe Uy

38 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

February 18, 2010 Im planning to use a power supply for the source what will be the proper voltage to use for charging 5 AA battery 70.

Stefan Vorkoetter February 18, 2010 9V supply should work just fine. Youll have to change R5 to about 1.5k 71.

tiroching March 19, 2010 i trying ur circuit using the input current from other power supply 5V and current just arround 200mA to 250mA R5 = (5 0.7 0.4) * 90 / OutputCurrent then i calculate out .for using 250mA.should i need to use 1.4k ohm???? but at the up site u give 1 of the fomula R5 = 1.6 x I Use the nearest standard value. For example, if you measure a current of 510mA, replace R5 with an 820 resistor. If the measured current was 420mA, use a 680 resistor. how can i calculate out for using 250mA current to 72.

39 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Stefan Vorkoetter March 19, 2010 That formula was to correct the value of R5 if the resulting current was too high or too low from the designed current. The formula you have used is correct for obtaining a lower current. 73.

cal March 26, 2010 I have gone through the web, and I guess yours is the only project available that explains in detail as to how to charge Ni-Cd batteries through USB. However if I want to charge 4 batteries 1.2v each (4.8V), within USB 5v limit, what changes should I make. I guess if you can include this in your project it will be really complete and so useful for all of us. 74.

Stefan Vorkoetter March 26, 2010 The best way to charge 4 batteries is to build 2 chargers. You cant charge 4 batteries in series through the USB port. Four batteries will get up to about 6.4V during charging, which would require 7.1V from the power source. The article is already complete and useful. 75.

40 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

cal March 29, 2010 Thank you Stefan for your reply about charging 4 batteries via USB. First of all I apologise, yes, the article is full and complete! do some companies like this one http://www.meritline.com/usb-battery-charger-268p-28333.aspx accomplish this. Is there a way to do this. Pls help me reg this cals 76. I am just wondering how

Stefan Vorkoetter March 29, 2010 Notice that it can charge either 2 or 4 AA cells. When charging 4, its basically charging the two sets separately, like if you built two separate chargers. 77.

cal March 29, 2010 OK!! got it, thnx a lot !! 78.

41 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Aditya Paranjape April 03, 2010 I have completed the circuit work but I am not able to figure out what type of USB cable to use. Which wires in a usb cable carry current? There are 4 wires of the colour White, Green, Blue and orange. Can you please tell me which two wires carry current. 79.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 03, 2010 All USB cables that I have seen have white, green, red, and black wires. The red wire is +5V and the black wire is ground. I dont know which wires in your cable are +5V and ground. 80.

celine April 03, 2010 how can i calculate out r1, r2, r4 from the three way voltage divider which yields about 1.26v at non-inverting input of Z1 can u provide me the concept and the fomula of calculation 81.

may April 03, 2010

42 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

how can i know the Z1 pin 1 during charging the voltage is 0.3volt how to calculate out? 82.

Lord Cupcake April 20, 2010 I notice that in order for the charger to turn back on, TR1 would have to reach about 43F. How would the charger turn back on in a room tempature enviroment once I removed the batteries to plug in my next pair. 83.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 20, 2010 The charger turns back on when new cells are inserted. See the last paragraph of The Circuit section for the explanation. C1 is the key. 84.

Lord Cupcake April 21, 2010 In looking through your comments, I noticed that people had trouble with the LED lighting when the power source was removed and the batteries were still inserted. The proposed solution was to put a diode between the positive battery terminal and the collector of Q1. The way I understand it, the cathode should be at the positive terminal of the battery, but I cant be certain. Can you please clarify? Also, one side of C1 is connected to both the positive battery

43 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

terminal and the collector of Q1. Which side of the diode should the capacitor end up connecting to, or does it not matter. 85.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 21, 2010 You are correct about the orientation of the diode. Put the diode between the battery and junction of C1 and the collector of Q1. 86.

Lord Cupcake April 21, 2010 Also, the TIP32C on Digikey has a hFE of 10. Is this the right part, or can I substitute another, like the 2SB0953AQ, Digikey part no. http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=2SB0953AQ-ND 87.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 21, 2010 The listed hFE is at 3A. If you look at the graph on the data sheet, youll see its around 105 at 500mA. That is of course the maximum. The examples I tested were all around 90. 88.

44 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Lord Cupcake April 21, 2010 One last question. What was the LED Vf that you used in your LED resistor calculations? 89.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 21, 2010 1.7V for the LED. The low level output voltage of Z1b will rise above the usual 0.7V to keep the current at 10mA. 90.

Lord Cupcake April 22, 2010 While searching through Digikeys website, I found some thermistors with similar characteristics to the radio shack one. Looking at the Radio Shack data sheet (http://support.radioshack.com/support_supplies/doc33/33553.pdf), the original thermistor had a "B" value of 3435K at B25/85. Digikey has a thermistor of exactly the same value (http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=P12011CT-ND), however, it is a 0603 surface mount chip. You could probably mount it to either a tiny breakout board, or you could solder between the leads of the short end of a 2X1 pin header with .079 inch pitch (http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=2663S-02-ND). It would be a tight fit, as you would end up with .059 inches of space between leads after you factor in pin width, but it would get the job done. The female counter part would be (http://search.digikey.com/scripts /DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=2563S-02-ND) . I personally am going to use the Vishay alternative, as through hole parts are more flexible. A diagram

45 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

of what I would look like is below. (I dont know if it will display right, or if you will understand it, but its worth a try for clarifications sake) || < Resistor here, in || this exact orientation _____ |||||||| One other thing. What does Z1bs low output voltage rise to? I want to use a small blue LED instead, and it has a Vf of 3.5 volts. According to some calculations I did; .01A*220=2.2V 5V-2.2V=2.8V of voltage drop. 2.8V-1.7V=1.1V of Z1bs low output voltage??? 1.1V+3.5V=4.6V of my circuits voltage drop 5V-4.6V=.4V .4V/.01A=40 resistor to use Are these equations correct? 91.

Lord Cupcake April 25, 2010 Also, I want to add another thermistor to be able to measure the ambient temperature, to that I could make it go to a trickle charging state when the battery temperature goes a certain level above ambient temperature. I think that replacing R3 with a thermistor would do the trick, but I have no clue what values it should have. Can you help me find an appropriate thermistor that would stop the charging at ~ 20C above the ambient temperature? Thanks for your assistance. 92.

Lord Cupcake April 27, 2010 I meant F 93.

46 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

phil April 27, 2010 Stefan, This is an amazing USB 2xAA charger design, the best I have seen so far. I am trying to modify it to suit other needs, but I cant figure out how you calculated the 10mA trickle charge. Can you please show me your work? Phil 94.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 27, 2010 Vref is about 2.37V and theres about 0.7V lost in the B-E junction of Q1. Subtracting both from 5V leaves about 1.93V across R4 and R5, giving about 40A. The hFE of the transistor is quite high at low currents, so youll get about 5 to 10mA depending on the particular transistor. 95.

Gus April 30, 2010 Would it be difficult to adapt this circuit to utilize an LM35 instead of the thermistor? or maybe a bjt or a small signal diode for sensing the temperature of the cells?

47 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

96.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 30, 2010 Im not really familiar with using those parts as temperature sensors, so Im not sure what would be involved, but its probably possible. 97.

phil May 01, 2010 Thanks for your help with that. I have modified the circuit a little in order for it to sense ambient temperature. I have changed R1 to a 16000 ohm resistor, R2 to a 33000 ohm resistor, R3 to the Vishay thermistor you specified as a replacement http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch /dksus.dll?WT.z_header=search_go&lang=en&site=us&keywords=BC2298-ND&x=2&y=15, R4 to a 11000 ohm resistor, R5 stays the same R6 stays the same, and TR1 to the Vishay alternative. This yields ~1.85V at Vref during charging (shut off voltage for Vtemp) and ~3.813V after charging has ended (turn back on voltage for Vtemp). In order for the charger to shut itself off, the thermistor connected to the batteries would have to become ~13C (23.4F) hotter than the ambient temperature. This shut off temperature goes up to ~16C (28.8F) above ambient @ an ambient temperature of 60C (140F), and down to ~9C (16.2F) above ambient @ an ambient temperature of-40C (-40F). In order for the charger to go back to charging the batteries after being shut off, the batteries would have to reach ~12C (21.6F) below ambient. This shut off temperature goes up to ~19C (34.2F) below ambient @ an ambient temperature 60C (140F), and cant turn back on @ an ambient temperature of -40C (-40F) because -40C is the lowest operating temperature of the components. This should never happen, as there would have to be a really freaky set of circumstances for the batteries to get colder than the ambient temperature after charging. I hope that this is helpful, and if you find any mistakes, please let me know. I have not actually tested this setup, but it should work. 98.

48 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Sam May 31, 2010 Dear Stefan Firstly, thank you for sharing this brilliant circuit with us. I have a few questions Id be grateful if you could help me with: 1) As I intend using this device in tropical countries with higher ambient temperatures, and I dont want to mess around with additional thermistors to adjust for ambient temperatures, can I simply adjust R1 R2 and R3 (and TR1 even) to activate the circuit at higher temperatures, say 35-40C in other words can I assume the temp of the batteries will just continue to rise as they continue to be charged and dissipate energy or do battery cells peak at a certain temperature? The aim of this would be to avoid the circuit being triggered by high ambient temperatures whilst still providing a temperature-activated charging cut-off. 2) Can the circuit be modified to ensure it just stops charging once Vtmp > Vref and does not trickle charge with 10mA? If so how is this possible? 3) I intend building a version of this circuit to charge 3 NiMH AA cells in series (i.e. 3.6-4V total) not from USB but from a solar PV panel rated at 5.5V and 65mA. I have been told I can just trickle charge these cells using a diode but I want to use a more sophisticated charger like yours. Do you think this is feasible using your charger circuit or is the solar cell just too small for the job? i.e. Would your circuit just drain too much current for this solar panel? Or would the solar panel voltage (5.5V) just not be high enough for 3xAA? 4) I cannot find a TIP32C here easily in the UK can I just use any general purpose PNP transistor as a substitute, or even a lower power one such as 2N3906 given the low current rating of solar cell I intend using? Or are there certain properties of the TIP32C I need to look out for? 5) Can the LED from output pin 7 simply be connected (via a resistor) to the battery (+) terminal instead of the +5V rail? In a solar cell charger where power source is limited could it save power this way by drawing on the battery rather than the solar cell to light the LED? many thanks Sam 99.

49 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Stefan Vorkoetter May 31, 2010 Yes, it would be possible to adjust the resistors for a higher temperature shut-off. Id have to calculate new values that would work. It would be difficult to totally eliminate the trickle charge, but by using much higher values for R1, R2, and R4, the trickle charge current would be reduced proportionally. 65mA is actually about 1/3 to 1/4 of the recommended slow charge rate. In effect, youre already trickle charging at that rate, so just using a diode is probably the best way to go. You need to choose a transistor with a collector current limit higher than your charging current. Youll also need to adjust R5 to get the desired charging current, depending on the beta of the transistor. Drawing power for the LED from the battery wont help, since the batterys power is ultimately coming from the solar panel anyway. Simply using a diode is probably your best choice. That will reduce the voltage a bit, and naturally taper the charge rate as the cells become fully charged. 100.

Sam June 01, 2010 Hi Stefan Thanks so much for getting back to me, very helpful and much appreciated. In terms of creating a tropical climate version how about just an additional resistor between TR1 and ground to provide the additional resistance (in effect biasing Vtmp), and might even be used with a SPDT switch to toggle between a temperate and tropical version? But otherwise I look forward to hearing your new calculated R values. In terms of charging rate, using both the hFE / beta / gain of the transistor and your equation for R5 = 1.6 x I, suppose it could be modified with a SPDT switch (between pin 1 and base of Q1) to toggle between 2 values for R5 to select slow and fast charge? I dont know much (if anything!) about batteries but might there be a certain charge current which is more efficient or more beneficial to max capacity or long-term health of the battery rather than the max USB current (i.e. 500mA)?

50 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Thanks for your advice about going with the diode for a solar device. I just liked the idea of having a green LED for charging and a temp cut off like in your circuit, but given the voltage drop across the LED and current required to light it, even an LED in series between the solar panel and batteries wont light it. best wishes 101.

Stefan Vorkoetter June 01, 2010 Pre-biasing the temperature will work to a certain extent. A 2.2k resistor in series with TR1 should bump the shut-off temperature to about 40C, and will increase the turn-back-on temperature, probably to about 9C (I just did these calculations in my head, so dont rely on them). A switch for R5 for current control would also work. Just to clarify, the formula R5 = 1.6 I is not for computing R5 for a desired value of I, but for recomputing R5 to achieve 475mA from a measured value of I with the default R5. 102.

air_jest July 13, 2010 Will this work if I charge three AAA battery? Thanks. 103.

Stefan Vorkoetter

51 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

July 13, 2010 No, not from a USB port. It would work if you used a 6V 1A DC power supply though. 104.

Mike July 19, 2010 Hi Stefan, Interesting project that I might embark upon, but I have a question first, is there a way of tweaking the design so that I can charge the batteries using the USB interface, but not from a laptop as the supply, I was thinking something like a solarcell or windturbine with a USB port out. Obviously this wont provide a constant charge so can the design be altered to allow a slow "trickle" charge effect? Please forgive me if I am asking something stupid, I am not an electronics expert, Im just trying to learn about something that I wish to create, Thanks Mike 105.

Stefan Vorkoetter July 19, 2010 The problem with working at lower charge rates is that the current might not be high enough to cause the battery temperature to rise. 106.

52 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Ganesh July 25, 2010 thank alot for ur circuit sir. its working fine. i need 11w/200w audio amplifier circuit for my pc can u provide it please.? Thank you sir 107.

ahsan August 14, 2010 Its very very good circuit but i am interested in something more complex and efficient .. i.e. a charger whose termination method is &#916;T/&#916;t and/or -&#916;V/&#916;t.. and surely it would need some sort of microprocessor and memory element ? so my question is that have u made one ? also can u recommend any good book on battery charging basics and charge termination ? 108.

Stefan Vorkoetter August 14, 2010 -V/t is more precise, but it isnt any more efficient. Such a circuit doesnt require a microprocessor. An analog sample-and-hold would work just as well (which is how most good early electric R/C airplane NiCd chargers worked).

53 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

109.

Stanley Montano August 29, 2010 me parece muy buena aportacion 110.

Arpit Nema September 04, 2010 A very nice and well explained circuit.I have a question though. Can a differentiator circuit ( http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_3/chpt_8/11.html ) be used in place of the thermistor? Because it should be better for places with large variation in ambient temperature through the year (like where I am currently it varies from >34 C to <7C ,night temperatures). 111.

Stefan Vorkoetter September 04, 2010 A differentiator circuit by itself wont work, since it cant measure temperature without a thermistor, but I assume your idea is to differentiate the temperature, and stop the charging when the temperature starts to increase. Unfortunately, the time scales at which a stable differentiator works are much smaller than the time it takes for the temperature to change. What _can_ be done is to install a second thermistor in the circuit so that the battery temperature is being compared against the ambient temperature, instead of against a fixed temperature. For example, R2 with a thermistor and resistor in series would change the cutoff temperature as the ambient temperature changed. Youll have to do the calculations to find the right combination of thermistor and resistor to get the right effect.

54 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

112.

Arpit Nema September 05, 2010 No no.What I meant to ask was using the dV/dt to stop the charging,across the batteries.No measuring of temperature at all. So will it work? 113.

Stefan Vorkoetter September 05, 2010 Ah, I see what you mean. In theory yes, but would probably be very difficult to make work, for the same reason (the times involved are very long). Typically, a dV/dt charger will use a sample-and-hold circuit to sample the voltage at some time, and then compare the voltage against the sample a short time (a few seconds) later. See my reply to Ahsan in the older non-Facebook comments below. 114.

Ben Newey September 12, 2010 i need help getting these parts and there any special tools needed to do this?? 115.

55 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Stefan Vorkoetter September 13, 2010 Sorry Ben, but I cant give you much help getting the parts. I suggest you order them from DigiKey. Youll probably have to order the alternate thermistor and corresponding values for R1-R4. As far as tools go, normal electronic assembly tools are all youll need. 116.

ToNe September 28, 2010 Can this work with one battery, i am working on a mod. 117.

ToNe September 28, 2010 Can this charge one battery only with out over charging? 118.

Stefan Vorkoetter September 28, 2010 ToNe. It will work fine with a single cell, but wont be as efficient. Just make sure that the thermistor is in physical contact with it.

56 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

119.

Chris Ulicki November 01, 2010 Great circuit and write up. Im working on a project that Im going to try and use your circuit as a charger (while plugged into USB) and then a power supply to provided around 3.6 volts by using 3 NiCd batteries in series. The only drawback to using 3 batteries is the charging time, Correct? 120.

Stefan Vorkoetter November 01, 2010 Sorry Chris, but the circuit wont work for charging 3 cells in series. During charging, 3 cells will reach almost 4.8V, but the circuit cant go any higher than 4.3V, because of the 0.7V drop in the transistor. 121.

Rahu Rayhan November 14, 2010 Well i tried but therese something wrong. is there any way to measure the percentage of charging rate?? 122.

57 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Stefan Vorkoetter November 15, 2010 To measure the charging rate, insert an ammeter in series with the battery (i.e. between the positive terminal of the battery holder and the collector of Q1). 123.

Benjamin Jusufovic November 16, 2010 I have completed a full numerical analysis of your circuit. It is a clever design but I believe that you are missing a pull down resistor at your collector terminal. If you make this resistor large, it will not dissipate power and will serve as a voltage reference for your coupling capacitor, allowing for the circuit to begin charging as you explained in your report. Without it, you might run into some problems when trying to charge your batteries. 124.

Stefan Vorkoetter November 17, 2010 Benjamin, youve clearly left something out of your numerical analysis, because the circuit does work as described, both theoretically and actually. 125.

Lnw ???? November 22, 2010 good

58 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

126.

Sam Lumajang November 25, 2010 Its very good circuit. 127.

Pranjal Singh December 21, 2010 nice! 128.

Brady Wen January 17, 2011 is it necessary to have the thermistor? can it be replaced by another component? say,a normal resistor? thanks 129.

Stefan Vorkoetter

59 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

January 17, 2011 Brady, the thermistor is the key to the operation of the entire circuit. I suggest you read the description of how the circuit works. 130.

Brady Wen January 17, 2011 ah yes,ive just read it.my bad,didnt read fully before i posted 131.

Brady Wen January 17, 2011 and thanks for the idea, i will try it out soon 132.

Jah Francis February 11, 2011 can u precise for duds like me? the A-Z So i can do it and praise u 133.

60 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Stefan Vorkoetter February 12, 2011 Not sure how much more precise I can be. Everything is in the article. 134.

Constantine Raphael February 13, 2011 wow 135.

Paddy February 15, 2011 Thanks for all your hard work on the battery tests. I was about to order batteries for some occasionally-used remote controls and came across your review; just what I needed as long as it doesnt turn out that the Sanyo VIPs handed you a big wad of cash to talk up their batteries! 136.

Stefan Vorkoetter

61 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

February 15, 2011 I guess youre referring to my Eneloop review article (http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/sanyo_eneloop.html). No, Sanyo didnt pay me anything. They did send me a few other things to test _after_ they discovered my review, but Id had no contact with them at the time I published it. Note that there are other brands of low self-discharge batteries too. See my comparison review: http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/low_self_discharge.html 137.

Marcelino Espinosa March 23, 2011 Can i charge 4 batteries with the usb charger? 138.

Stefan Vorkoetter March 25, 2011 Marcelino, the only way to charge 4 cells is to charge them 2 at a time. 139.

Robert Van Cleef April 04, 2011 Very interesting concept. I need something for 9v batteries but this is a promising start. Thanks

62 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

140.

Greg Williams April 11, 2011 Will this work for other batteries? I am trying to charge a 4 cell 4.8v 200 mAh NiMH battery pack for a small robot? Since this circuit is based on temperature, I am thinking it might work? 141.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 13, 2011 Greg, see my comment to Marcelino below. 142.

Scott Schroeder April 18, 2011 Well put together; from schematic, to partlist VERY detailed with even a built by pic. Every detail you can imagine you need you get with this run down. Well done sir. 143.

63 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Conrad Cruz April 21, 2011 Im building this for my eneloop batteries. Cost much cheaper with a good feature and quality. Good advantage for us electronics enthusiasts. Thanks for sharing this Stefan. 144.

Ludwig Van Jauhari April 29, 2011 I was wondering if i can charge single cell with this charger without replacing any components? is there any negative impact on the battery if i do that? 145.

Stefan Vorkoetter May 01, 2011 Ludwig, charging a single cell will work fine. The charge current will be the same as for two cells. The only concern is that Q1 will get hotter, since its dissipating more power (about 1.5 to 2W), so a bigger heatsink would be a good idea. 146.

Fadi Sarkis May 16, 2011 I think it will function correctly but it prefer to put a 0.2 fuse before the USB ports and use a bigger heatsink for the transistor.

64 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

147.

Stefan Vorkoetter May 17, 2011 Fadi, a 0.2A fuse wont be enough, since the circuit draws almost 0.5A from the USB port. 148.

Rapshaddie Khan May 26, 2011 thanx for the article i will try it and let u know what happened 149.

Andrs Ignacio Fuentes Cartes June 29, 2011 Thanks!!!! 150.

Aaron Gomez

65 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

July 03, 2011 how nice is this 151.

Aaron Gomez July 03, 2011 wel make this as our thesis 152.

Dhe Kencoes August 25, 2011 Yes..i wanna try it. 153.

Yusuf Hammouda September 15, 2011 Stefan i need help charging from 1 to 3 AAAs or AAs ..do you think you can give me a hint??.can i use variable components so that the Q1 wont overheat when i charge one battery???and thank you very much for this articleyou seem to be very skilled at circuits 154.

66 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Ismail Kazi September 23, 2011 this is helpful. could you also help with solar panel 2 AA battery charger? Solar panel is 6V/100mah 155.

Stefan Vorkoetter September 27, 2011 Ismail, at 100mA, it will take about 40 hours of direct sunlight (i.e. panel pointing directly at the sun) in order to charge two AA 2500mAh cells. In any case, the charge current is low enough that you can simply connect the panel directly to the battery through a diode. You wont need any circuitry other than that. 156.

Wiwied Soeparto October 03, 2011 if i need to charge the 3.7v battery pack, which component need to be replaced and what are the values? 157.

67 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Bintang Sedayu October 04, 2011 bikin ahhh 158.

Stefan Vorkoetter October 05, 2011 Wiwied, to charge a 3.7v battery, you need a completely different circuit. This charger is for NiMH batteries only, but a 3.7v battery is Lithium Ion. You will destroy the battery if you try to charge it with this charger. 159.

Jake Didion October 29, 2011 Stefan, I just finished building your circuit successfully. Very very cool thanks a lot for your help with this website! 160.

Mervinlee Tan November 10, 2011 First of all, thank you very much for this wonderful circuit. I was curious on how to make this then I stumbled upon your site. question, I am curious on how you computed the values of r1, r2 and r4 and how r4 works. thank you! great work sir! For my

68 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

161.

Clemens Arth December 29, 2011 This is really nice work and although already some time passed since you did it you tackled a still active problem I guess. Stefan, I highly appreciate it and I wonder if you can comment on changing the hardware for charging a 3.6V NiMH battery pack. In principle it would involve a third cell only, but I guess some resistors have to change for the higher charge voltage. Do you think this could work out? 162.

Abdullah Bin Mat Isa February 01, 2012 Nice. and complete information thanks. 163.

Robert Philips February 06, 2012 Is there no way to modify the circuit to charge four 1.2V AA batteries? 164.

69 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

John Albert Pineda February 24, 2012 Can I use a.1 micro fard 50v capacitor than in 10v capacitor? 165.

Anil Sethi Jnr March 09, 2012 DUDE ! You are truly Awesome ! Extremely Legendary Work, i have only started learning electronics this year and this tutorial is perfectly & simply worded even for the likes of me ! Many thanks for sharing! I also have a small solar panel but need it to charge a 9-volt battery for my Knight-Rider Circuit! (5 volt Solar Panel @ 70mA & a 9 volt battery is 175mah, Ni-mH) Could i also just connect the solar panel straight to the battery with a diode (also what model number diode 1N4148, 1N4007, also which way does the diode go & on what terminal of the battery/solar panel ?!!? ? ?) ? Many thanks in advance if you could find a second or two to reply ! And apologies for bothering you with what seems very trivial work for you ! 166.

Anil Sethi Jnr March 09, 2012


70 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Also i am having EXTREME difficulties trying to find C1, a 0.1F 10V capacitor in the UK, NOT even ebay sells one ! From what ive been learning about capacitors, as a rule of thumb, ish, whatever the input voltage of the circuit is, the capacitor should be double this amount. So for the 5 volts your awesome circuit uses, a 10 volt capacitor makes perfect sense (even to a learner like me!) But the UK is in the damn-stoneage when it compares to countries like USA for sourcing components. The closest i have found to getting the mentioned capacitor in the ingredients list (also from USA from ebay!) is an SMT/SMD capacitor which i dont mind using as i have very steady hands, but would this capacitor below work with through-hole components ??? http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/0402-0-1uF-X5R-10V-Taiyo-Yuden-RMLMK105BJ104KV-F-100pcs-/160318833833?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0& hash=item2553bf44a9 Again, any help in this direction would be most-appreciated ! 167.

Stefan Vorkoetter March 09, 2012 Anil, a 5V solar panel wont charge a 9V battery unless you incorporate some sort of voltage boosting circuit. The voltage rating of a capacitor should be at least double the operating voltage. So any 0.1uF capacitor of 10V rating or MORE will do. These days, even the small caps have very high voltage ratings. A 0.1uF cap is probably the most common component in existence, so Im sure youll find one. If the UK _were_ in the stone age, then maybe youd be able to find a 10V one. 168.

Anil Sethi Jnr


71 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

March 10, 2012 Many many thanks for the extremely speedy response Stefan, i am truly grateful! I am trying to mirror your exact ingredients list as i want my attempt of making your most-excellent & very efficiently put-together USB AA battery charger as close as possible but have tried looking for a 0.1uF 10v capacitor from 4 of the UKs MAJOR component sellers and NONE of them are selling what i need, except the SMT capacitor (Surface-Mount-Technology, as you know, lol) ! Please would you be able to post any tech specs for the exact capacitor you used in your design or would it be ok to use the below capacitor (very cheap, 100 for 0.50 pence!): {even though the below capacitor is ONLY 0.5mm (H) x 1mm (L) x 0.5mm (W) in size !!!!!!! ?} http://cpc.farnell.com/multicomp/mcca000505/mlcc-0402-x5r-10v-0-1uf/dp/CA06746?Ntt=0.1uF+10V And lastly could you please point me in the right direction for voltage doubling circuits/reading guides as i have been searching for the past two weeks for a way to double voltages for my projects but still havent even found as much as a tutorial regarding these circuits of they are far too complicated for my learner-level ?!!? Once again i humbly thank you for your help as i stand back in awe of you great tutorial !!! 169.

Anil Sethi Jnr March 10, 2012 I cant find ANY 0.1uF 10v capacitor !!! Not even one ! Not even one priced at a ridiculously high price! Only the surface-mount capacitors that match your ingredients list exactly, but would this mean that all the components have-to be surface mount technology or can i get-away with using the SMT capacitor with the through-hole components despite the huge difference in size ?

72 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

{also all LEDs sold here in UK are at a very minimum of 20mA, cant find a single LED rated for 10mA, again, unless its an SMT component!} Is it ok to use a 20mA LED instead ?!!? So sorry about harassing you again with these trivial questions as im sure a man of your calibre would have more important things to do other than to baby-sit a learner in electronics, but the help is extremely appreciated & very gratefully received ! 170.

Stefan Vorkoetter March 11, 2012 Anil, as I implied in my previous response, the voltage rating of the capacitor doesnt matter so long as it is AT LEAST 10V. In short, you can use pretty much ANY 0.1uF capacitor. The only place you wont be able to find one of these is in Antarctica. With LEDs, the current rating is also a maximum. Any red LED with AT LEAST a 10mA rating will do. Voltage doubling circuits that can produce sufficiently high current to be useful for charging a battery are non-trivial. On the other hand, for a 9V battery, youll only need about 100mA or so. Im afraid youre on your own finding what you need though. Google is your friend. 171.

Anil Sethi Jnr March 11, 2012 No worries, youve clarified the capacitor issue (again, lol) which was more my pressing dilema! Again many thanks !!

73 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

172.

Marnik March 12, 2012 Hi! I like the circuit you made. I want to do something similar. I want to make an USB +5V (400mA) supplier with the use of 8 AAA batteries. This is installed in a little box. I got a recycled toshiba adapter (12V-2A). I want to use this adapter to charge these 8 batteries (2x 4 NiMH batteries in parallel). I looked up for an BQ2002 from TI, but it looks too complicated. Do you know any good circuit to use? Can i make this with an adaption of yours? I would be thankful if you could help me any further. Thanks! 173.

Kent April 15, 2012 Hi Stefan, I love your clean smart design! btw how to increase the voltage in order to charge 3.7 lithium-Ion Batt? is there any component should be change? please help Thanks in advance! 174.

74 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Stefan Vorkoetter April 16, 2012 Kent, you cant use this circuit to charge a Lithium-Ion battery. The charging method for these is completely different. Its not just a matter of using the right voltage. 175.

Simeon April 23, 2012 I dont know if somebody ever try to make this charger because I did it. Very good in theory. But very unstable in practice. What I mean? I dont know maybe the problem is with my thermistor It seems its more than 10% / degree: room temp charger wont start few minutes in refrigerator here we go a half an hour in refrigerator here we go even without a batteries. So for now I put a potentiometer instead R1 and make it somehow but it is not the end. Maybe I should try different thermistor. 176.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 23, 2012 Simeon, the charger works fine if you use the thermistor specified in the article. You cant just substitute a part like that for a totally different one and expect it to work. 177.

75 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Simeon April 24, 2012 Hi Stefan. You are right I cant make substitutes and expect to work the same way like yours. Also R1 from my previous post is actual R3 and the potentiometer is 47k. It works for now. The problem is in the thermistor I live in Bulgaria and its imposible to find exactly the same thermistor here. So I have to start with its parameters at first. If I give you the parameters of my thermistor can you calculate the other resistors for me? I would be very grateful. I find the idea and the sheme very good and thats the reason I start making it. Maybe should be used two thermistors just to measure temperature difference not the batteries 33deg. because its not the right temp for summer in many countries. The second one instead R3. Thanks. 178.

Stefan Vorkoetter April 24, 2012 Hi Simeon: Yes, a design with two thermistors would be a bit more flexible, but its best to charge at a reasonable room temperature anyway. But I realize that that isnt always possible. Anyway, if you tell me the specs for your thermistor, I can figure out the resistor values. 179.

Tony April 25, 2012 Can I replace the 2-cell to 4-cell battery holders? any changes need to be made? 180.

76 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Simeon April 25, 2012 Hi again Stefan. Here is the parameters of my thermistor taken with ohmmeter and thermometer. I know it should be more linear but this is what the ohm and thermo meters say: 20*C 10.5k 21*C 10.1k 22*C 9.8k 23*C 9.3k 24*C 8.9k 25*C 8.7k 26*C 8.3k 27*C 8.1k 28*C 7.8k 29*C 7.7k 30*C 7.6k 31*C 7.5k 32*C 7.4k 33*C 7.3K If the scheme cant be done with this thermistor than write me some label for a thermistor that can be used. I will try to find it in british ebay where I can purchase it. Thanks and sorry for the english I am not so good with it. 181.

anilkumar May 07, 2012 Hi Mr.Stefan,

77 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

I am from India. I have read the whole article & all the comments till date.(since 2007) Your circuit is so good and I will definitely make it and post comments. I will keep a watch on your site for similar circuit ideas. Thank you for sharing! 182.

Eric May 15, 2012 Hi Stefan, you are a very patient man. Are you sure it wont charge three cells??? Just kidding- thanks for the info! 183.

Gamen June 12, 2012 Hi Stefan, Thanks for your great circuit. When correct thermistor cant be found, think a npn transsistor like BC547 could be used instead of thermistor changing resistor R3 and adding a resistor on this network acording to triger second amop. Using only base and emitter pins (np union), this voltage np union decreases when temp increases. transistor is more sensitive to temp than diode (like 1N400x). Thanks again for be so patient. 184.
78 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Prabu June 21, 2012 Hi Mr. Stefan, Firstly I thanks for your circuit. Im planing to build it , but i have a problem with the temperature. Because in my country (Sri Lanka) the normal temp. 30C if I use this thermistor (10K) to build this circuit if there is any chance to have not fully charge batteries. If yes which thermistor do i need to use. Please Help. Thank you 185.

Prabu June 22, 2012 Hi Mr. Stefan, I built the circuit & I have a problem when testing when measuring Gnd & Vref it reads 2.2v (I got a analog multi meter) and no reading with Vtemp & gnd. after inserting batteries Vref & gnd reading not change it shows same reading (2.2v) & and LED didnt light up. Please Help Thank you 186.

Guilherme

79 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

August 25, 2012 Hi there Stefan. First, great work! Congratulations. I got a question about the project: can i use it to charge a 9v single battery with no changes in the circuit? I want to use it in a circuit for leds and need some more tension. 1,2v will not do the work Thanks! 187.

Stefan Vorkoetter September 05, 2012 No Guilherme, it cannot charge a 9V battery, since the power source is only 5V. To charge a 9V battery, you would need a step-up converter. 188.

Graeme September 08, 2012 Hi Stefan First off Champ! Thanks for all your time and effort for not only developing and show it to all of us this project but to also answer all the question still coming years later as well. Like Guiherme, I too would like to charge a 9v battery as well. As for step-up converters I have been looking at the TPS6734I FIXED 12-V 120-mA BOOST-CONVERTER SUPPLY. Since the rechargeable 9v battery I have is only 350mAh the 120mA max should be fine (yes/No?) If so then my main question is, should the step-up converter circuit be in-front of your circuit or after it? Ive looked at the data sheet for the LM393 and it can handle the 12 volts.

80 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

If there is anything I should add, change, adjust or remove. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks Champ! 189.

Colin September 14, 2012 Hi Stefan, I want to use your circuit for battery backup. I am not electronics eng. Please would you express a view on my intended addition to your circuit if it is stupid yes or no. P Channel MOSFET BAT IN - Vout |||| |v|| | | || || USB IN-|>| | Schottkey Diode 190.

Colin September 14, 2012

81 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Hmmmmm, me picture got screwed P Channel MOSFET Bat In >> D USB In >> G Diode >> between G & S Vout to >> S 191.

Colin September 14, 2012 Sorry, me again 192. I forgot to mention the MOSFET is a P-channel enhancement-mode device.

Amy October 03, 2012 Hi Stefan: Great circuit! btw how do you simulate the Battery voltage versus time? I tried to simulate it on Altium, should I replace the battery with something else in order to get the waveform (as it stays constantly at 2.4 V with a battery source at the moment) Thanks for your help! 193.

82 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Stefan Vorkoetter October 03, 2012 You need a more sophisticated battery model (i.e. one that models state of charge, internal resistance, etc.) in order to simulate any sort of battery charger circuit. However, I didnt use a simulator at all. I designed the circuit on paper, drew up the schematic in an old DOS schematic drawing program, and built it. Its too simple to need to be simulated. But if I were to simulate it, I would use MapleSim these days. 194.

keeping fit October 06, 2012 Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading? Im trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if its the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

83 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Leave a Comment
Name (required) E-Mail (required - will not be published) Website (optional)

Want to see your picture next to your comments on this site and others? Visit gravatar.com to register your own globally recognized avatar.

Buy Stefan a coffee! If you've found this article useful, consider leaving a donation to help support stefanv.com Disclaimer: Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information on this web page is presented without warranty of any kind, and Stefan Vorkoetter assumes no liability for direct or consequential damages caused by its use. It is up to you, the reader, to determine the suitability of, and assume responsibility for, the use of this information. Links to Amazon.com merchandise are provided In Association with Amazon.com.

84 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Copyright: All materials on this web site, including the text, images, and mark-up, are Copyright 2012 by Stefan Vorkoetter unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication prohibited. You may link to this site or pages within it, but you may not link directly to images on this site, and you may not copy any material from this site to another web site or other publication without express written permission. You may make copies for your own personal use.

Tripp Lite IN3006CG Notebook/Laptop ... Tripp Lite Buy New $29.99

Privacy Information

Search Amazon:

85 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Sanyo 277265 Eneloop Power Pack with... SANYO Buy New

Privacy Information

Sanyo Eneloop AA NiMH Pre-Charged Re... SANYO Buy New $5.45

Privacy Information

86 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Sanyo Eneloop 2-AA NiMH Pre-Charged ... SANYO Buy New

Privacy Information

Energizer CHUSBWB-2 Duo Charger W/2 ... Technuity Buy New

Privacy Information

87 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Build Your Own Electronics Workshop Thomas Petruzzelli... Buy New $19.77

Privacy Information

88 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM

Build a USB Powered AA NiMH and NiCd Battery Charger

http://www.stefanv.com/electronics/usb_charger.html

Sanyo NEW 1500 eneloop 4 Pack AAA Ni-MH Pre-Charged Re... SANYO New $8.31 Panasonic KX-TG4742B DECT 6.0 Cordle... Panasonic Office S... New $69.95 Sanyo NEW 1500 eneloop 8 Pack AA Ni-... SANYO New $19.10 Duracell Rechargeables StayCharged A... Duracell New $9.20 Motorola MH230R 23-Mile Range 22-Cha... Motorola New $44.79 Duracell Rechargeables StayCharged A... Duracell New $9.40

Privacy Information

89 of 89

09-Oct-12 9:53 AM